A developer has found document-editing features in the latest version of Google's Chrome OS software.
Discovered by François Beaufort and first reported on by 9to5Google, the feature allows users to open and edit Microsoft Word, and Excel files within the Chrome browser.
Back in May, Readwriteweb claimed that Google was set to bring Microsoft Office document editing features to its Chrome OS and Chrome browser-based apps as a result of acquiring QuickOffice, a company whose technology supports the .docx file extension that Microsoft adopted several years ago to differentiate Office from other word processing and spreadsheet applications.
In the same month, Google also released an update to the Chrome OS which enabled users to view, but not change, docx and xlsx files.
The latest source code discoveries suggest that initial reports were accurate and that Google will be rolling the feature out shortly, once the software has passed through testing.
Despite the rise of the Chrome OS as an alternative to Windows and of iOS and Android tablets and smartphones as an alternative to the traditional PC, Microsoft has been slow to react, believing that the Office suite of productivity applications is sufficient for consumers to keep on using computers and therefore, Microsoft products. So much so that it recently ran an advertising campaign comparing the iPad and Microsoft Surface Pro side-by-side, presenting the former's lack of Microsoft Office applications as a main reason for buying the latter.
However, the market is now awash with apps and software applications from Apple's iWork to Google Drive that offer valid alternatives to the once mighty Word and PowerPoint. Therefore, after a very long wait, in June, Microsoft finally rolled out an Office app for iOS, which works on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, however is only optimized for iOS smartphones. Sources close to the company claim that it has already developed an Android app equivalent and perhaps this latest news will help give Microsoft the motivation it needs to launch its app sooner, rather than later.